It’s become an anthem for NASCAR fans – especially twice a year when the Cup Series rolls into Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
With the YellaWood 500 about to get underway this afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway, let’s take a look back at a country music fan favorite.
Eric Church released “Talladega” back in 2014 with his album The Outsiders, and since then it’s become a staple of his live shows, with fans breaking out flags of their favorite driver (usually Dale Earnhardt).
But according to Eric, the song isn’t even really about NASCAR – and it was originally supposed to be about another track, but the words just didn’t line up right.
Eric discussed his fourth #1 hit during an appearance on Lindsay Czarniak’s podcast, Lunch with Lindsay, alongside NASCAR champion Chase Elliott.
According to Eric, he was playing a festival in Daytona, Florida at the same time as NASCAR was in Daytona for their July 4 weekend race:
“Ironically, when I wrote that song, I was on the bus at a festival on July 4th in Daytona. The Daytona July 4th race was happening, and we were watching it.
I was with a songwriter of mine. And we were watching the race, and they showed the infield and you had all the people in their campers, they had the flags… I was like man, it was just like a music festival. It was like Woodstock.
And we started talking about it, and I was like, well we could just write this.”
But despite the fact that the song was inspired by a race at Daytona, Eric said they just couldn’t get “Daytona” to fit into the song:
“We couldn’t get Daytona to line up right. For whatever reason Talladega lined up better. So we wrote it to that.
We kinda picked a path using those pictures and wrote the song.”
Although it’s become an anthem of sorts for NASCAR fans, and is even used on the TV broadcasts every year during the Talladega race, Eric says the song isn’t even really about a NASCAR race at all – and it could be about any experience that you have with your friends:
“It wasn’t about the race. It was about the experience of the people experiencing the race.
You mentioned earlier about, you thought you were missing out on life if you weren’t. That’s it. That’s the whole thing.
It’s not about racing… could it have been football, could it have been soccer. It doesn’t matter.
It’s about being with the people and experiencing that and letting that be a memory marker for their life. And that’s really what it was.”
That’s what I love about Eric’s music: A song that’s seemingly just a story about some friends piling into a camper and heading to a NASCAR race, but it’s about so much more than that.
It’s about making memories, and connecting those memories to a time in your life.
And despite the fact that it’s not really about a race, I have a feeling there will be more than a few people blasting this one on Talladega Boulevard this weekend.
Listen to Eric’s entire interview with Lindsay Czarniak here: